Horse Cake

Horse Cake is a chocolate cake shaped like a horse head. I served it at Fuzz’s birthday and it got a lot of good review. Plus it’s cute! The cake is adapted from a recipe on Epicurious and the frosting is from somewhere else.

horse cake

To make a horse cake, follow recipe below, then freeze cake. Carve frozen cake as described here.  If you want to skip the scratch cake, you can always make a horse cake with any good chocolate cake mix and your favorite icing.

Horse Cake
Chocolate Sheet Cake With Rich Chocolate Frosting
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
  • Flour-Added Cooking Spray
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured -- 7 oz by weight)
  • 1 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup warm water or coffee
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 13 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9 inch baking pan with foil leaving a slight overhang; spray foil with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk flour and next 4 ingredients in medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat brown sugar and butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, alternately with buttermilk. Stir in water (or coffee). Let batter cool if it is warm from the coffee, then stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour batter into pan and bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Set pan on a rack and cool completely. Wrap tightly in foil and freeze until ready to use.
  5. Make Frosting.Using the top of a double boiler or the microwave, melt the chocolate and butter together. Stir in the espresso powder, then transfer melted chocolate mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer.
  6. In a food processor, process sugar, cocoa, remaining butter and salt until thoroughly mixed. Scraper sugar mixture into the stand mixer bowl with the melted chocolate mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in cream.
  7. Place the mixing bowl in refrigerator and chill until very cold. When chilled, mixture will be firm. When ready to use, set the bowl at room temperature until the mixture is not quite so firm.
  8. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat cold chocolate mixture until fluffy and spreadable.
Note: This makes enough frosting to frost two 13x9 inch cakes. It freezes well, so you can freeze half or use all at once.

White frosting (used for mane)

I can't really give proportions because I tend to just throw things in the bowl and beat until the consistency seems right, but the mane was made with softened butter, shortening, confectioners sugar, vanilla and milk. I also did a vegan (dairy free) version with Willow Run spread, shortening, confectioners sugar and soymilk.


Related posts:


  1. Dani says

    Ohhh, I need to make a cake for my neighbors daughter – she has lactose intolerance and a vegan cake sounds like something she should be able to eat.

    Could you email me the recipe? daniela AT culinarystudent Dot us

  2. meredith says

    What a super-looking cake. Quick question about the recipe, thouogh: I thought that Dutch-process cocoa was for recipes w/ only baking powder, or when baking powder quantity is greater than baking soda…am I confused? Doesn’t it make a difference in leavening/rise?

  3. Anna says

    Hi Meredith,

    Dutch process cocoa is neutral (alkalized), which means it doesn’t have enough acid to react with baking soda. However, if the recipe has another very acidic ingredient, a leavening reaction will occur. In this case, the other acidic ingredient is the large amount of buttermilk.

  4. carole says

    The cakeis beautiful. As I said before “you are one talented lady” Sounds like all the kids had a wonderful time and that Fuzz was Queen for the day.

    The cake sounds wonderful. I may just make it without making it into a horse.

  5. sandra says

    The cake looks great!! Too bad my daughter that loves horses is going to be 18 on her next birthday. Aw….I might just make it anyway. She’ll probably get a kick out of it!!

  6. Anna says

    Daniela, I emailed you the recipe. Let me know if you did not receive it.

    Alison, I don’t know about the kids, but the parents sure did like it ;). The kids just wanted to eat it.
    Actually, they did seem to really like it. I was worried it would be too chocolate-packed for them, but they ate it all.

    Steph, that’s what I love about Family Fun. All the cakes look complicated, but are super simple.

    Tracy, I used my decorating tubes for the mane.

    Carole, I am really not talented at all. The person who thought up the cake shape is the brilliant one. Even an all thumbs decorator can make this cake. Oh, Fuzz is always queen for a day — all day everyday.

    Sandra, just make it. She’ll love it.

  7. Meaghan says

  8. Lora says


    May I get your vegan recipe for this cake? My daughter has allergies to milk and eggs. For her second birthday I would love to make this cake.

    Thanks — Lora 🙂

  9. says

    I emailed this version to Lora and am posting it here.

    Vegan Cake (for Horse Cake)

    3 cups cake flour (340 grams)
    2 cups granulated sugar (398 oz)
    2 teaspoons baking soda (10 ml)
    1 teaspoon salt (5 ml)
    1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (51 grams)
    3/4 cup vegetable oil (180 ml)
    1 teaspoon vanilla (5 ml)
    2 tablespoons vinegar (30 ml)
    2 cups warm water or brewed coffee (I used water since the cake was for kids) (480 ml)

    (Frosting Recipe Below)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). If you are making a horse cake, line a 13×9 inch pan with non-stick foil.

    In a large mixing bowl, six the dry ingredients thoroughly. Add liquid ingredients Mix until uniform, then beat with an electric mixer for about a minute.

    Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes for round pans or 40-45 minutes for 13×9 inch. Let cool on a rack.

    Freeze cake. Carve cake while frozen or partially frozen. Frost cake with a thin layer of frosting while frozen. Let it thawn then add another layer of frosting and decorate.

    Chocolate Frosting

    8 oz vegan butter, softened (such as Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
    2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder – sifted
    2 1/2 to 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, measured and sifted
    2 tablespoons soy or almond milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Stir together softened vegan butter, cocoa and 2 cups of the sugar. Add soy milk and vanilla and stir again. Using high speed of electrix mixer (I use the whipping attachment on my stand mixer), beat icing for a minute. Add the rest of the sugar, adding just until you think it’s the right consistency. Beat for a good 3-5 minutes, scraping side of bowl often, until light and fluffy. Ice the cake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate This Recipe: